Today is FIFTY, day seven.
Having a supporting role, in sobriety, is much easier, than being the LEAD actor. I’d rather come in quietly, and do some manual labor, setting up, and sit out front, and saying hello to people. I think, and I said this to one of my guys on the way home that:
Manual Labor is a requirement for sobriety. You have to spend some time doing the grunt work (as long as you can). I think service is THE cornerstone of anyone’s sobriety.
Service is something I learned to do, and still DO to this very day.
So it went, Tonight, we traveled across town to the entertainment sector of the city, where our Performing Arts Center is located. Place Des Arts. This is the HUB of Montreal’s Concert/Ballet/Symphony/Music Festivals … You name it.
It is where we gather to have some serious fun.
The Monday meeting is just up the hill from here. Notre Dame De la Sallette Church.
Monday Central is a well attended meeting. We had decided to change-up the game after completing a full reading of The Big Book, last week.
We were sitting out front tonight, as one of my elder friends, and another elder sober friend approached. They were surprised to see us. Others felt the need to change-up their routines as well, from where we had been going for so long.
Changing up your routine is necessary sometimes. My friend told me that when he gets into a funk about people and places and cliques, it is time to move on and go somewhere else.
We read from the Big Book, Page 92, in fact on “Working with Others.”
This passage talks about working with an alcoholic. And you can imagine, as it was said tonight that, back in 1939, when the book came out, Bill and Dr. Bob had their work cut out for themselves.
Imagine meeting a contact, via a wife, or a doctor or a hospital, someone who probably. really knew HOW to Drink … There was no A.A. There were no meetings. No television commercials.
In its Infancy, it was The Book, and that was it.
It was Dr. Bob and Bill, sitting with a real Winner …
The passage talks about what our role is when working with another. And how everything that matters, is about telling our TRUTH. Sharing the message of recovery as we have recovered, and how that went down for us. Speaking about what happened to US, honestly. That’s it.
There were a few young people sitting in the room tonight, that when THEY got the message given to them, insanity erupted, and they took to sobriety like wild fire. And in their zeal for recovery, tried to bring their friends and fellows, along for the ride.
They know today, in listening to them talk tonight, just how bad they cranked up the message and made it all about their opinions and not a whole lot about personal experience.
Sometimes we need to return to the roots of the program and listen to what the book actually says, and how this program works.
Sobriety is SO different in 2017, than it was in 1939.
The stakes are just as high. Alcoholism is still alcoholism. And a drinker, is still a drinker.
The chance that someone had heard of A.A. before they hit the rooms are higher today, than yesterday. Imagine what it was like 80 years ago ?
Today, one of the MAIN struggles we hear over and over ad nauseam, is God. God is mentioned over and over in the book, and God is seriously, the biggest DOWNER for people across the board.
If God was your only problem, you wouldn’t be sitting in the room, would you ?
High Roller drunks of the 1940’s were a serious problem, just as the High Roller drunks are today, only today, you can bet, that alcohol is not their only vice. Times have changed.
And they haven’t changed for the better.
How do you stay sober at age FIFTY ???
I don’t know, myself. But I am figuring it out one day at a time.
I follow the men who participate in my own personal sobriety. I do what they do. I go to meetings they go to. And I listen to what they say to me.
Not everyone is meant to STAY, people come and go. At certain points, sober roads might diverge. The lesson there is to Let Go, absolutely, and Let God. That was good advice tonight.
If You are stuck in addiction, somewhere far, or somewhere near, there is help.
Over the past few months, I’ve been asked to sponsor rehab’s in the U.S. on the blog.
I have done this gladly, if someone out there needs help, and you read these pages.
Drug Rehab.Com and Elevate Rehab.org …
The links are on the sidebar, on the right hand side. If you click the links, they will take you where you need to go, if you need help.
Thank you for following and reading.
Timber Hawkeye, talks about being a lighthouse.
A light house is a static structure. It is located in one place, and does only one thing, it sheds light. Up there on the rock, the light house gives light to those at sea, warning them of danger, rocks, the shoreline.
A light house does not move around, shedding its light in ones face.
For a long time, in sobriety, I thought that because I “had” light, that in order for people to see it, and pay attention to it, I needed to shine that light in their faces …
A meeting IS a LIGHT HOUSE. We give light, We share light, We offer light.
Last night, I took the stupid liberty to shine light in someones face once again. Reminding him that I had “Seen” him and was paying attention to him.
That really means nothing to him, because he thinks little of me.
Tonight, one of my long sober friends, who was sitting in the room prior to last night’s meeting and knew of my plans ahead of time, spoke to me before the meeting tonight. And he asked me why I was wasting my time, with someone who doesn’t seem to need light, or want it for that matter, from me at least.
He told me that there were plenty of people who want light, and that I need to stop and notice who they are in the future, thereby not wasting a perfectly good opportunities to
On the way home, I was talking to another friend driving the car home, and I told him about an observation that I had about people in general. And he said …
For God’s sake, you have fifteen years of hard-fought sobriety under your belt. WHY are you worrying about those fuckers who really don’t give you a second thought. They aren’t worrying about you, and you really don’t need to be fixated on them either.
Nuff said about that …
A few weeks ago, an older man showed up on our Friday doorstep.
More like, came down our staircase.
I noticed him.
He shuffles in before the meeting for some coffee. He keeps to himself and doesn’t say much, that I also noticed. Tonight, he shuffled in, just as I finished setting up and was going to go sit outside. He sat in the chair next to the one I was sitting in.
I took a breath, and asked him how he was doing …
Be the LIGHT.
People suffer unimaginable terrors and mental pains. And mental illness is NOT strange in our business. We see it all the time.
A conversation began. And I learned a great deal about this man, in a few minutes before the meeting. He IS where I WAS, many years ago. With a shattered life, nothing to call my own, nowhere to go, and a soul devoid of LIGHT.
I was carrying The Spirituality of Imperfection, in my bag.
He spoke of God. And said to me that he was devoid of spirit and did not know how to find it. AND he told me that at least, an ember of fire was still glowing in his tummy.
When a fire burns down, what is left in the pit, is charred coals, burnt wood, and maybe an ember just simmering, waiting for kindling to get it to burn once again.
That ember was still within him. And with that knowledge, I ran with it.
I told him that we all have, or hopefully still have, when we hit the rooms, an ember still there, inside us. I wanted to blow some air on his ember, and hopefully reignite the fire.
Ever so small it may be.
We spoke about foundations. We spoke about structure. We spoke about doing small things, small acts of kindness for ourselves and for others. And hopefully build some self-esteem and self-respect.
He has a plan. He is housed at the Old Brewery Mission, here in the city. The Mission is a Homeless Shelter. He has a paid room, and structure.
That is a beginning.
He has a roof, 3 meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and he gets a shower every day.
He has everything he needs, very simply. His cup is not full, but he’s on the way.
I gave him some suggestions. And as the meeting began, he whispered in my ear:
I have thirty days today.
I had a thirty-day chip in my wallet, I have several in fact, should they be needed.
At the end of the meeting, he got his thirty days.
We shared our light with him again tonight.
We dropped him at the Metro, and I gave him my number.
You never know when someone will need your light, at the right moment, for the right reasons.
It is Fifty, day four.
The other day, I was traveling. And I let my I-Phone do its thing and run the Shuffle. Instead of poking around for something particular to listen to, I let my phone do that for me. I’ve not listened to a play list like the one that is playing right now.
I have SO many hours of music on my phone, that I would never get around to listening to all of it. Strangely enough, there must be an algorithm in the phone itself on how it chooses music. I have to say that I’ve listened to a lot of music over the past few days. Odd and obscure songs I really like, have played, and in a certain order, as they popped up.
Where I am mentally and emotionally, plays into the music I am listening to. Being on the doorstep of Fifty plus, not really sure where I am going, I get words of encouragement from the singers I have loaded into my system.
Chester Bennington has come up several times, in a certain order. He is dead now, and I hear his words in a different way, from beyond the grave now, instead of picturing him on a stage ALIVE. Odd but comforting. I’m sad he is gone, because he told us where he was and still he killed himself. UGH.
This afternoon, I got up and went to do my shopping. And I ran into Canadian Tire to purchase that light switch I wrote about last night, to give to my reluctant fellow who drank again. It is just a simple light switch you wire into the wall.
This afternoon, I walked another soul through their first Fifth Step, in his sober life. It was a miraculous experience, because we both learned something about ourselves together. I see honesty in him, and a desire for a new beginning.
Before the meeting, I ran my stupid idea past two very sober men, who I trust with my secrets and thoughts. They both agreed I was barking up the wrong tree, because we all agree, my fellow, really does not want to be sober, because he has not even admitted to himself that he is an Alcoholic, and that he is powerless over alcohol and drugs. And he has no desire to be Honest with even himself.
I sat on my idea for the whole meeting.
A fellow I know very well spoke. He’s just a few years ahead of me at nineteen years. He said that once we come into the rooms we begin doing good things for others, which makes us feel good about ourselves.
And we build Self Respect.
Self Respect IS important, because once you build self-respect, in sobriety, we really don’t want to fuck that up. He also mentioned honesty and willingness to do something good for ourselves now that we are sober.
He is fifty-five years old, and I just crossed the fifty mark myself. I know him, but I don’t HANG with him, nor anyone from his crowd. But I see him often, where I hit meetings, and he is consistent in work and ability.
I sat outside with my sober men before the meeting and watched people I know, from the meetings I HAD been going to approach the door. They would walk past me and not even acknowledge I am standing there, except I say their names out loud, as to say, I acknowledge you, even if you don’t ME
They don’t want to converse with me before or after the meeting. It is like I don’t even exist in their spectrum of who they talk to, before and/or after.
Many people in the rooms are like that. They will shake your hand and exchange pleasantries, but nothing beyond that kindness.
Is that all about ME or all about THEM ?
I don’t know. I just know that people (certain people) really don’t care for my brand of sobriety nor honesty in my observations of them, or the fact that I am sober a good while, and many of them are not.
After the meeting I approached my light switch fellow, and made MY PITCH.
I explained the light switch I had purchased and why I was giving it to him. I told him that he wasn’t paying attention to anything, because he sat in a meeting and read THE WHOLE BOOK cover to cover, and decided to drink again …
WHO DOES THAT ???
I know he does not think highly of me at all, being Queer like me. But I am not a Queer like many of the other Queer men I know in the rooms. And I said that to him , prefacing my remarks. He wasn’t buying what I was selling.
In closing he looked at me like I was from Mars, after handing him the light switch and made my sales pitch and replied, I don’t know what to think about this.
I hugged him and walked away.
Not sure if that little TOOL will do anything for him, but I offered a last salvo to tell him that I was paying attention to HIM and his stupid choices, because obviously, he wasn’t paying attention to anyone or anything. And I told him so.
I encouraged him that he really needed to start paying attention …
I won’t be going back to the Monday meeting because after eleven months of sitting in that room, it did not produce one human being who wanted my number nor made an effort to be my friend. No Love Lost There …
I did see another friend who hits the Monday Central Meeting where we are going, starting next week, and he welcomed that choice I had made. He is no longer going to the Friday meeting.
All of my long sober friends, congratulated me and wished me good things for my birthday, which was nice. Most of my straight friends offer me words of wisdom and counsel, quite often. The Thursday meeting is like that, in certain circles of men and women, who’ve got a lot of time.
Others, not so much.
All I know is that I am still alive and I am still SOBER. But for the Grace of God, the fellowship and the wisdom of my very talented doctors.
That’s all Very Good.
People make stupid decisions. Alcoholics make stupid decisions. People who are in the rooms, but not using them properly. The whole goal of getting and staying sober, is that we begin to learn how to live sober. Gain some Self Respect, and LIVE LIFE.
Over time, as you rack up time, you STOP making stupid decisions. It is obvious to me that many of my fellows, are not there yet. I told my fellow that the way I stay sober is by watching them all go to meetings, talk, act, and make stupid decisions.
Thereby, I know, exactly, what NOT to do for myself.
I’m not any better than you are, because that would be my ego talking. I just don’t make the same stupid decision that YOU do. And the fact that I haven’t had a drink in over fifteen years and eight months.
I may be from Mars, and People might think I am strange and stupid, but I am clearly sober today, but for the grace of God.
The decision was made and I am walking away from communities of people now. I am leaving meetings, and I’ve purged my life of people who have been abusing my good will and my loyalty.
It sucks being honest with myself and my friends and fellows. Because in the end, it is me who loose, because I am honest, vulnerably Honest.
Self Respect, Dignity and Honesty are key to my values and morals.
This is my Fifty Promise to Myself.
Nothing pisses me off more, than a room of few people, an hour fifteen for a meeting, 45 minutes to share, and a chair with the penchant for egg timing people from the chair.
I go to meetings to listen to my friends. And I go to meetings to hear God speak to me. And if the share gets to me, you bet your ass, I am going to take all the time I want.
We have two Hasidim men who come to our meetings out of their communities. We had a woman who had just days, and she was in pieces trying to get her words out. There were old timers who just sat there and tutted me every time I said to the chair to put his goddamned egg timer down and let people finish.
It wasn’t like we were pushed right up against the hour. No we had 45 minutes, and everyone should have gotten the time they needed to speak.
And Be Damned your Egg Timer … Damn it to Hell.
I made it a point, when our Jewish friends came, to make them feel comfortable and welcomed and supported and all. They usually come in late and have to catch up, which means, if time allows, you Let Them Talk, for Christ’s sake !
I never egg time anyone. And I’ve never egg timed anyone in a meeting that I chair. Not in all the years I have chaired any meeting in this city. There are very few occasions that I’d stop someone from going on and on and on. We all know, in the rooms, who they are.
The last time I had to kettle someone was after the election and a man started ranting and raving about politics and Donald Trump, at a Friday Meeting. We don’t do politics in the meeting. That’s in the Preamble.
The share got to me, and I had things to say, and I picked up my phone and said to the chair that, “I had 30 minutes to speak, and I was going to take every minute I wanted.”
My former sponsor and her boyfriend were sitting in the circle TUTTING me.
That meeting is the hall at St. Leon’s where I got sober. The room where I saw God. The room that has been a weekly fixture in my sobriety for more than 15 years.
And you’re gonna egg time me ??? You Fucker …
**** **** ****
This morning I went to sit for my first design appointment for my birthday tattoo. My guy did not show. This is the image of the tattoo as my consultation began. The boy on the stairs, walking towards time, over the ocean.
It is a black and white image. No color to speak of.
The discussion went along, and we eliminated the clock works from the image. The clock is now a spiral configuration. The stair case is also Spiral, with the boy climbing a Spiral set of stairs, and in my mind’s eye, his shirt is red.
We are going to go along a blue theme. Having One Color, and many hues, is much cheaper than going full-bore, with many colors on the same tattoo.
The reason being is that your paying by the hour. Each color is, in and of itself, one set of color. And every time you have to change colors, you have go to through a cleaning process, eating your time and your money.
The outline is black. The ocean is blue, and whatever else needs to be colored will be a hue of blue, except my required red shirt on the boy.
The Clock denotes … TIME.
The Past, The Present and The Future.
The Stair Case … Is self-explanatory if you are in recovery.
We all know what Stairs or Steps mean.
The Ocean … Is life in all its turbulence.
The Boy’s shirt is … RED. A nod to my journey with AIDS.
One single shot of color. And the boy is going UP the stairs.
Not looking back or coming down. He is moving forwards.
The Clock is ticking, The steps are in front of you, and the water is gurgling below.
The Journey Home …
There is also a Kryon Parable about Michael and the Angels. A story I’ve read over and over again. Michael has suffered a terrible tragedy, the loss of his parents, he is living a dead-end life, and there is no one special in that life either. He gets mugged and almost killed. While in the ER he has a vision of an angel, who he tells, “That all he wants is to go home!”
The angel facilitates his way out of the hospital after a benefactor pays his bill and tells him to pack his things and prepare for the Journey Home.
In the story there are seven angels who teach Michael about life, in seven very colorful houses along the way. The last house is the House to go HOME.
Michael’s final walk, is up a staircase, to a door marked HOME.
Then he threw up …
If you’ve never read the story, you won’t get the last sentence.
People who know me, know I am a gentle man. And I never raise my voice or get angry. But the last few months has changed all that. I am more apt to speak my mind a bit more openly, even if it pisses my friends off and imbalances the power in the room.
I may not be in the chair, but if you displease me, you will know it for sure.
I’ve never walked out of a meeting before, ever.
Tonight I did … Wanting a drink !
The weather has gotten dreary, wet, humid and miserable. Thanks to tropical storm Cindy. She stormed the gulf coast, and now she is making it rain here, and it is supposed to rain for the next three days.
Which meant numbers were down. But we had a good showing.
Faith … What is Faith. Not sure ? Take the action.
We talked about Faith and Action tonight. If you don’t have the former, then you need the latter. And how do we do the latter ? We go to a meeting.
As many meetings, as it takes, for you to hear someone who has a message or you identify with the words, and you take that EXTRA step and go talk to said person to see
- What it is that they have
- How did the learn what they said and/or did
- And how do you replicate that piece of advice
- You take a SUGGESTION and you RUN with it
- As far as it will get you
So many of our young people struggle with Faith, and God and Suggestions.
Many people want the easier softer way, and only the die-hard newbies will listen when you tell that WHAT it is that YOU DID, and WHAT happened because you did that thing.
If you are new to the rooms. Sit down, open your heart, and listen.
Listening is an ACTION step. It will come to pass, that if you sit in your chair long enough, you are going to sink in and then you will hear just what it is you need to hear.
You might have to hit a number of meetings, over a LONG period of time. In Montreal, there are plenty of choices of where to go, around the clock, every day.
I know, I did not know what to do, and I needed people to show me what to do. And I connected to all the right people when I needed them. And over the years, certain special sober folks appeared, because I went looking for them, where ever sober people gathered.
Meetings, Step Series, Round Ups. Going out-of-town.
It may happen for you tomorrow, and maybe it won’t. That is the adventure, RIGHT ?
If you want to get sober … If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, THEN you are READY to take certain STEPS…
It’s written in the book.
If you don’t have faith, let us show you faith. Sit with us and listen to our stories. At some point, even you will identify with at least one human being sitting in that same room as you.
The last Paragraph of tonight’s read mentions the first meeting between Bill W. and Doctor Bob, on that fateful night, I wrote about a few days ago.
Dr. Bob got sober, because Bill told him HIS story. And for the first time in his life, he met another human being, who knew what Dr. Bob was going through. Bill was speaking his language. On June 10th 1935, Dr. Bob recorded his first full day of sobriety…
And what did that take ? One alcoholic talking to another.
If you don’t have something, then take your needs to a meeting, and lay them down on the table and speak your words.
ALWAYS take your needs to a room. ALWAYS. Because you would be surprised how often you will find exactly what you NEED on a need to know/have basis.
If you glean everything a room has to offer, EVERY single human being who walks into a room has something you might need. All you have to do is ask. That is why we stress the 20 minutes before and after.
Every single person in the room has something to offer, even if they don’t know it themselves.
The forward action of faith, is showing up, every day or every night.
You might not know what that looks like, but if you just try, one day at a time, your actions will become faith.
I promise you that.
I spoke to three people on the way out tonight. Hopefully they will return the next week for another dose of Friday Night Sobriety.
It’s the Best night of the week.
So you went back out, and you either DRANK or USED or BOTH.
What happens now ?
What happens with all that time you banked, before you walked out the door ?
Do you loose that time, or does that time still matter ?
There are two schools of thought on these questions. I’ve heard them discussed over the years, but in recent years, I’ve heard no mention of the options in open community.
Option #1: Time on the Continuum exists and is still in motion, your slip is but a blip on the time line, so keep moving forwards.
Option #2: You HAD time, but you slipped, your continuum has stopped running, NOW you go to the BACK of the line and start over.
This came up today while talking to my best friend.
I’ve mentioned over the past few months, the number of friends I have who decided against better advice, to go back out and drink and use.
Here, in Montreal, my “Core Group” is trying to figure out how to help our friends, and get them back on the horse and reconnected.
We decided, as a group, to give keys, jobs and responsibilities to those who need to reconnect. Service will keep you sober, because you become accountable. Turning, back benchers and slippers into Service Hounds is what we have decided to do.
Will it work ? That is yet to be seen.
When I accrued my four years and had orchestrated my slip, I really had nothing to return to, as in accrued sober knowledge and time. I was too busy trying to survive.
That was the greater challenge, even if I took that life for granted, and pissed away that time endangering my life with more drugs and more alcohol.
I have a friend, one of our men, who went out at almost the four year mark. He was good, and stable. In the end, he fucked off, and isolated, and that black hole swallowed him whole.
My friend speaks of it this way … “He needs to practice his Emergency Exit Plan.”
Everyone needs an Emergency Exit Plan …
Everybody, no matter how long you are Clean and Sober.
You need to put your oxygen mask on FIRST, before you can help someone else !!!
Had he done that, he could have avoided using again.
I’ve learned in sobriety that in certain cases, I must be liberal in my approach to my friends and fellows.
My friend, returned with three years banked in the hopper.
Does he go back to the end of the line, or does he just keep going ?
He has ALL that TIME, in history, knowledge and sobriety.
He knows what to do, it isn’t like he forgot.
Pushing him to the back of the line, is detrimental, I believe to his well being.
The time one spends on a slip has to be calculated on where you land when you return.
If you have some serious time banked, and your slip is brief, (sometimes that can also be disastrous) You need to figure out where you are in your head and in your life.
The worse the slip, the harder the climb back into life.
Some people don’t make it back. They resign themselves to sobriety loss, and decide to just pack it in. They might be in a meeting, but they have disconnected.
Time has no meaning for them any more.
What does my friend do ? Well, right now he is doing service and he’s pounding his meetings. He feels shame and fear because of what he did to himself, and now what came of his actions upon those he worked with and friends he has known.
We know he is his own worst critic.
My friend and I talked about the TWO OPTIONS plans.
We agree that Option #1 – works for him.
He needs to get back on the horse. Yes he is marking new time, but with years of sober time banked behind him. So he has all that experience to work with, in figuring out what he wants to do now.
There are those who come back, and they reconnect, but they need to re-engage with The Book, The Steps and Meetings. (also contingent on how long they were absent).
We need to provide for everybody ALL the TOOLS they need to recover.
We are human, and we need to be reminded that (If we had time) that time still exists, on the continuum. You just don’t STOP living, because you slipped.
So let’s give you tools and trades to get back into the game as quick as possible, so that this time, you STICK and STAY.
We don’t need to punish people by telling them to go to the back of the line, now you start over in sobriety, that none of your past time matters …
That is NOT true.
All time matters. It matters by the strength of that banked time.
In my case, my past time was pretty non-existent. What I got the second time around mattered more now, than it did the first time around. The messaging was off, I wasn’t in the book, I wasn’t connected to a sponsor and I was my own worst enemy.
So the second time I DID start over from scratch.
Because I had nothing to bank on …
What if YOU have TIME to bank ON ? And you SLIP ?
Would you rather get back on the horse and pick up where you left off, or would you like to go back to square one, and start over, as if your past banked time, did not exist in the first place ? Or that your past time did not matter ?
The choice is yours.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The first really BIG weekend in Montreal has begun. The F1 Grand Prix, is the penultimate event of the season for the city and the millions of people who come from far and wide to participate.
It only gets better from here, with the Festival Season that opens over the next month.
I did nothing all day. I did my shop early and came home and crawled back into bed. I’m not opening any longer, which frees me to head out a little later than usual. I got ready to go and took my time in getting to the church. The transfer out was quick, and I arrived at the church to find a friend sitting on the church steps, enjoying the sun, so I sat with him for a bit and chatted.
A new group of young men are on the stage to open and set up. We, (read: the group conscience) spoke and we handed the keys and responsibilities to them, so that they would be responsible and show up and become service hounds in the process.
Experience over the years has taught us one true thing …
Service will keep you sober.
The reading WAS Step Three …Actually … The Step Three Prayer.
I heard many things spoken. But one young man said something that I actually wrote down. Step Three is an important step. It is the first step where a prayer is asked of us.
It asks of us to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.
Step Three reads: Made a decision, to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
This appears on Page 63 of the Big Book.
The three most important words in the Big Book, appear on page 112.
Read This Book …
This young man said: Surrender has to come first, before we utter this prayer out loud. Our surrender affects everything else that comes afterwards.
The Quality of my surrender dictates how everything will turn out.
How much do we surrender when we pray ? 10%, 50%, 100%
I can concede that I need to “Turn it over,” But in my case, my surrender usually has conditions, or the usual, “Yeah BUT.” My sponsor said to me, not long ago, that I needed to open my fist and turn my hand towards God and Let Go Absolutely.
With No Conditions, or Explanations or Expectations.
Surrender is the whole point of getting sober.
I can’t – He Can – So I will let Him.
We cannot do this thing alone, which is why we need to go to meetings, and we also need others. I know, for me, that when I pray to God, I am either going to get an Up/Down response, or if the Up/Down does not come, I need to go to a meeting and listen to my friends and get a vertical person to person response.
If God does not talk to me directly, I usually find that He speaks through other people in any meeting I go to. It usually works that way for me.
Lately, God needs my attention. And I either accept that or I do not. I know that when God needs my attention, he removes something from me, in order that I have more of me to pay attention to Him.
That is either the removal of people, places, things or activities.
We believe that we always need to be engaged. Always doing something, helping everyone else, trying to wrest control over a situation that might be OUT of control.
I’ve been spread too thin for too long. People have taken advantage of my good will. And eventually, I get pushed over my personal limit of Fuck It …
So I sat in front of the church this evening, with nothing to do, talking to a friend.
That was a particularly good God Moment.
When I got sober the second time, I was ready to surrender. And in the moment when I got on my knees and prayed to God, I surrendered.
The rest you can say is history.
Because I am right here, right now.
And We did not drink today.
And together, the entire room, spoke with one voice, The Third Step Prayer.
It was a good thing …
Our sobriety is in our hands. I am personally responsible for my sobriety. If I want to be sober, then I have to do the work. That’s all there is to it, really. I’m not going to get sober, sitting at home isolating, or sitting in a meeting and not engaging.
There is only a short amount of time for you to just WARM a chair. At some point you are going to have to engage, or go back out and DRINK. Who wants that for themselves ?
There are some who still do that, to this very day.
If you want sobriety, then you are going to have to work for it. What you put into it, is what you get out of it. And I am putting a lot into me right now. It’s coming fast and furiously.
If someone gives me suggestions, I should really DO THEM. If you ARE NOT doing service SOMEWHERE at least one night of the week, what the FUCK are you going to meetings for ? Really !!!
I tell my friends to do service, or to call a friend and connect, and they look at me like I am from MARS or something, or that I must be CRAZY.
Oh, for the Love of God ….
I am still processing all the pieces of advice I have heard from friends and fellows. I’ve been to a few meetings. Tonight, I saw my sponsor and HIS sponsor. I spoke to another friend who is LONG sober, and understood where I am in my head.
- I have been through the Angry Period
- I am sitting in my Unvarnished/Unfiltered stage
- My Sober “Give a Damn” is Broken
- Sometimes I just need to call a “Douche Bag a Douche Bag”
- I am allowing assholes and elbows to infect my serenity and sobriety
- That’s not good at all. Working on that presently !
- Heavenly Father is directing the show – there is no doubt
- My Elder Friend Spencer is in the loop
- According to the men who were in the room on Thursday, I did fine
- I was honest, I spoke what needed to be said
- Even if assholes and elbows were sitting in the room
- My Long Sober friend who “got me” said that once he was so angry from the chair that he got up and stopped talking and left the meeting, because of the same shit I was seeing from the chair the other night
- I may not have IT, but I do have a variant of IT
- I am directed to PAGE 112 in the Book – The first three words … READ THIS BOOK
- We are reading the book.
- If faced with an asshole, I should suggest page … 112
- Right now, I don’t really care if I hurt your feelings, this is where I am right now
- If I don’t know what to do, I do service, ALL the TIME
- It is HIGHLY suggested that if I give you a suggestion … LISTEN for Fuck’s Sake
Oprah on God …
Heavenly Father speaks to us. Often. However, we don’t always hear Him or get the message or the memo. In the beginning, the first time, Heavenly Father whispers, if we don’t hear it the first time, He whispers again, the second time.
If we don’t get it twice over, the third pass, is when Heavenly Father hits us in the back of the head with a 2 x 4. If we miss it the third time, the final pass is when Heavenly Father drops the wall, on top of us …
I’ve actually experienced this series of hits, I had the wall fall on me. This happened a few years ago, during my heavy growth period between twelve and fifteen.
I’m sure that some of my friends took it personally, that I said the words, “YOU are a Douche Bag,” at the Friday meeting, two weeks ago, because they are not returning my phone calls.
That’s the problem with some people. People always assume, you are talking about THEM, in a meeting, and rather than ask ME what was going on, or if I indeed was talking about them, they go silent and they avoid me like the plague. If I have something to say to you, I am going to say it to your face.
That night, I WAS talking about someone specific, which was very close to cross talking,
It is what it is …
Some of my friends ARE Douche Bags. That’s just the honest TRUTH !
My friends, my CLOSE friends, will come to me and tell me when I am being a DOUCHE BAG. Last Friday my friend Joe took me aside and sternly suggested that I change my tack, because I scared some of my friends out of the room that night.
Douche Bags … All of them.
Why do we always have to be Politically Correct, and skate over the truth, so we don’t harm someone’s tender sensibilities ???
FUCK ME ALREADY
I’m tired of SUGAR coating my WORDS and dancing on the head of a fucking PIN.
I’d rather be Imperfect and Honest, rather than be Perfect and Dishonest.
I’d rather be honest and be hated, than to always have to sprinkle sugar on my friends character defects and shortcomings, like they don’t exist.
Oh, but they say, progress not perfection, you cannot expect someone who is less sober than you, to be in the same place mentally and emotionally, where you are. People have been straight up honest with me, they never let me skate across the ice like I was a professional hockey player.
I don’t play hockey and I’ve never been to a hockey game, not once.
It’s OK for you to be an asshole and I let you slide, and if I step one step out of your comfort zone, you fucking shun me like pariah …
What the FUCK is that, really ???
I may not be very sober, at least, here I can be honest. I am doing my best.
I’m so glad that I got my “Geographic Disease of Alcoholism” under control. I just know that if I had a car, all bets would be off … Not that I’d drink again.
Heavenly Father took the car away from me for a reason when He did. If I was grounded in One Place, I might settle down and get better and stop drinking.
Which is what I did here. I landed sober, and I’ve stayed sober.
Living here is the longest period in my life that I have been settled in One Place for this long. I made the right decision.
Met a young girl from ICELAND tonight, here on vacation. I asked her, “Why would you come here of all places, if you lived in freaking ICELAND ???”
Her response … Well I live there. She wanted to see Canada for the first time.
That’s like when I lived on Miami Beach. Locals never pay attention to their surroundings, because we live there and work there for a living.
I never went to the beach, probably once or twice in the middle of the night, and not during the day. It’s funny, I worked for a bit in a friend’s tanning salon, during my final drinking period.
I was amazed at all the GYM bunnies, who would not dare go to the beach and get sand in their bathing suits. On a Friday afternoon, or all day Saturday, they would come and tan, so that they had that GLOW about them to go drinking that night.
God forbid someone actually had to do the work of taking care of one’s self naturally.
If I can drink it, bathe in it, or spray it on, all the better.
That is, if you can afford, the easier softer way …
God I love sobriety.
This entire emotional period of my life is like one HUGE rocking roller coaster.
They warned me that I would feel again. It only took fifteen year to get here. I have friends who are early on, who are also on this roller coaster themselves.
Political Correctness has gone out the window for many of us. Not sure how sober that is, by my sponsor and HIS sponsor tell me that sometimes Honesty is the best policy.
YAY for Honesty …
Have you ever loathed someone with every fiber of your being ?
Sobriety brings with it a myriad of emotions, vying for purchase. And all those emotions are running through my head since I left the meeting I spoke at last night.
There are (not so) sober men in the rooms, that I loathe will all of my being. I hate them as much as I hate addiction. Sitting in the chair, looking out at the room, trying to speak coherently and honestly, watching people react to what you are saying, and seeing someone you loathe with all your being SLEEPING in his chair, playing with his water bottle, fucked with my brain.
I invited several people to come hear me speak, and that spooked me too. At some point I looked at our Matron of our meeting, sitting in the front row, and I sensed she was tapping at her watch, which threw me into fits of “shit, I need to wrap up,” it might have been that, or it might not have been that.
I had a script in front of me, and still, I was all over the place. In the end I feel like I really did not carry the message honestly, because I was all over the place mentally.
I can’t go back and change anything about what I said or did not say.
I’ve heard a long sober woman talk about the fact that in one moment she is the most resentful and angry woman, while being the most grateful and happy woman, all at the same time. All those emotions vying for attention, in that moment.
The Third tradition speaks about the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, and nobody has the right to tell someone to leave.
Right now, I want to haul off and speak some not so sober words to a particular man in the crowd. I want to tell him how much I hate him, how much I loath his existence, and his presence in the same space I sit in.
It is like a malediction.
I cannot stand disrespectful people. I’ve known for all of my sobriety how much I hate certain people in the rooms. They make we want to spit. And say things that are not so sober.
As a gay man, there are certain heterosexual men who just make my stomach turn. I won’t break bread with them, I won’t go to the same meetings as they do, and I sure as shit do not call them fellows.
I strayed off my script because my sponsor said that I needed to stick to my story as it relates to alcoholism. Some of my script went well outside that requirement.
Figuring that I was going long, I cut short an entire section of my share.
In the end, I got good marks from my friends and the members of the group, which meant I had hit my mark. Being that the last time I spoke in front of a crowd was six years ago on my tenth anniversary.
So why do I feel so fucked up and angry ?
I felt very intimidated sitting up there, talking to people who did not care for anything that I had to say, yet they were sitting in the room with us. I might not be 20 plus years sober, but I am sure as shit not like any of those men I loathe.
Fuck Me ten ways from Sunday …
Tonight, it rained … If there is weather going on, attendance is going to be down.
Tonight’s read: Virtue and Self Deception
I read the reading, and thought I knew what I wanted to say, and once I spoke my words, I realized that I had missed my mark. In retrospect, I lived my alcoholism in reverse.
The stories of most alcoholics usually begin with one innocuous drink, that leads to More. For most, but not for all, that’s the way it went down. Except for those people who started drinking full throttle from the very start.
I drank as a teenager. When I moved away from home, I started hard and strong. I’m not sure how I got through the first five years of my drinking. I do know that I would lie, cheat and rationalize my way into alcohol.
I was not a very honest young gay boy. Then again, none of us really were:
Young people today, have a sense of entitlement. Like we owe them something for just being alive .
I do know that I grew up in a home where alcoholism flourished. Nobody talked about it, and we always lived in fear, if we ever spoke about it to anyone outside of our four walls.
It seemed to me that silence gave consent. None of the men in our lives ever paid a price for their addiction to alcohol. My father was terribly abusive. In the end, he got away with his actions. All of them. He is a really fucking lucky man, that I did not retaliate, ever.
There were always loaded guns in our house. And Bats, and Chains, and Metal Tools, Knives and Machetes. He was very lucky that I never went in for the kill.
I do regret never beating the shit out of him, at least once, for the abuse he heaped on me. When I drank, I believed that I would get away with it. If the men in our lives did not pay for their problems, then I believed that neither would I.
I believed that if I pawned responsibility off on either of my parents, I would slide through, without being called on the carpet about my drinking.
Responsibility … That was the word I really wanted to talk about.
As a twenty-something, I was terribly irresponsible, EXCEPT when it came to being responsible for my drinking career. My drinking always came first. Everything else, came a FAR second and third.
I had a brand new car. I had to choose between paying off that car, or drinking. Can you figure out what choice I made ? A series of well told lies, brought the repo man. My father, did indeed, pay for the car, and I got it back, with nary a word about my drinking.
Did I feel guilty ? No. Not One Bit.
That motherfucker was going to pay his dues. He did.
Today, I live with that resentment high on the list of things I did that will never get forgiveness. My parents will never forgive me for my alcoholism. I will never grow up from that twenty-something that fucked them over, I will be guilty till they go to their graves.
Leaving home, was to find a life, a people, a group, ACCEPTANCE.
I was woefully unprepared to be an adult. And I did not have any clue about responsibility for my life, which is really ODD. When I lived at home, I was responsible for the house, for cleaning and the upkeep. I was my brother’s keeper as well. I had to go to school, which I did, willingly.
I graduated High School because I told a true statement to my Math teacher. I was a failure when it came to numbers, and I still am, to this day, albeit a bit better.
On the day of the final exam, I learned that all of my classmates got a preview copy of the exam and I did not. In the end I wrote a note on the last page of my exam. It said:
“I was the only student in this room, who did not get an advanced copy of your exam. Have a nice day.”
Regardless of how I did on that exam, he passed me.
I graduated High School.
When it came to employment, I was at the top of my game. I made good money doing that too, until alcohol began to cloud my judgment. As a much younger person, who had jobs, where alcohol was NOT included, I was successful.
When I began to work in my travel field, and you tossed in alcohol, all bets were off. I talk about this incessantly, many of the people I worked with and drank with, were as alcoholic, if not more alcoholic than I was. Getting on a plane on a Friday afternoon, to go somewhere exotic, so that we could drink, was not uncommon.
When I worked for a Very Big Cruise line, alcohol was served during work hours. And it was also not odd, to get on a ship on a Friday afternoon as well, to head to the Bahamas, and drink 24/7 while that ship was moving, and then some.
Many of the people I drank with got SOBER, well before I did. And nobody said anything to ME about ME.
I had to run my sordid, irresponsible, sickness ending road.
I WAS responsible for myself so long as alcohol was not part of my life equation. I knew what right and wrong were. I had morals, I was honest, I was responsible, at every one of my jobs that I had. My progression into alcoholism was jump started, when you added alcohol into my life, while I worked.
When I made the move away from home. My alcoholism followed me. And since my main goal, as I was directed by my shrink, to go to a bar, have a couple of drinks, and “see what happens,” was what I did.
My responsible sense of life went right out the window, because alcohol was the main ingredient, in my emotional, personal and sexual success.
I don’t know where my good values and honesty went. I think alcohol helped me to forget those values, virtues and honesty. Self respect went out the window as well.
I suffered from alcoholic delusions for a very long time. Like I stated above, my alcoholism began backwards. All those devastating things that usually take place at the END of ones drinking career, BEGAN on day one for me. I was an alcoholic who LOST BIG, from the get go.
I refined my drinking over the years, so as not to include anyone, but myself.
In the end I really did not need you. I had burned all of my bridges. Alcoholism helped me alienate family, friends, and coworkers. The one thing that alcohol still did for me, was to get me in the door when it came to the horizontal mambo.
Until I was diagnosed with AIDS.
Irresponsibility and really bad choices, mixed together with drugs and alcohol, pushed me over the edge, on one specific morning. In those days, in Fort Lauderdale, you could, actually, DRINK, twenty-three hours a day.
That MORNING, that I sat in a bar, and continued my drinking from the night before, I made a sexual choice, NOT a responsible choice, by any means.
The bullet was shot, and I had been hit with that bullet. Only, it took a year for that bullet to rear its ugly head in my body.
There was nobody saying to me – Maybe you should STOP. or Maybe, you should be more responsible. or Maybe you need to grow the fuck up, already …
Last night I shared with you Todd’s story.
The first choice I made, moving towards responsibility, was walking into Todd’s bar, that one night in 1993. Had I not done that, my timeline would have been fucked.
Todd – read: God, was waiting for me in that bar.
Another point I want to talk about is this: We know today, and we repeat this mantra to everyone who comes in the room that: If you put anything before your sobriety, you will fail, miserably.
I have AIDS, I was going to die, and Todd brought me to a meeting.
AIDS was a much BIGGER fish to fry than staying SOBER. I was juggling two very serious balls. And I had to keep both balls in the air at the same time.
If it were not for Todd, I would have died. I would not have made it out alive.
I was going to meetings, and reading the book, an Roy was my sponsor, who worked IN the bar with me. But Todd, was the Master in Control of my destiny.
I got responsible, it may have taken a while to get there, but I did get there.
Before Todd stepped into my life, for years before, not one human being, on my timeline, ever offered me a suggestion, a piece of advice, or uttered the word STOP.
I was working in the bar, drinking myself sick after hours, and my body was sero-converting all the while. The day I got those results, I figured that I would drink myself dead, instead of suffering the way my friends were suffering.
It was a very good thing that I did call Todd away from his vacation and asked him to come home, for me. He did that, gladly.
Todd took over and actually said the word STOP to me.
My education in survival began. My sobriety, took a back seat. If I did not survive, sobriety would not matter. I was going to meetings, marking time. The thrust of survival lead me where it did, because Todd was running the game.
For those few years, I earned dignity. I learned responsibility. I learned values. I learned morals. I learned Never to Give Up. To Fight for my life.
I was sober when Todd departed my life. I stayed sober for another two years. I moved to Miami, and went to a meeting, where alcoholics like me, heard me speak, and told me to Go Away and Not Come Back.
Imagine what that feels like, if you were fighting for your life, and fighting to stay sober, and have another alcoholic say the words: Go Away !!!
I disconnected. I became despondent. I took my life into my own hands. The HOLE in my SOUL, took over. Sobriety, took a back seat. I kept SECRETS. I told LIES.
I put the HOLE in my SOUL first.
I prearranged my slip, and orchestrated it to the best of my ability, because nobody at home really cared whether I came or went. Nobody was paying attention to me.
So Fuck It.
Eighteen months later, the cops were at the door, to extricate me from the house.
I came back home to Miami, with my tail between my legs. The year 2000 turned into the year 2001. I saw my mother ONCE.
On September 11th, 2001, we all know what happened.
Miami Beach was plunged into forced communal SOBRIETY – Because New York needed us, and drinking was outlawed for two weeks.
No bars, No Clubs, No alcohol and No drugs.
I would not get sober for another four months.
I was living in the DELUSION that if I just drank a little more, someone in the club I was drinking in, would notice me. I had lied to myself for years and years. None of those things I was told would happen, those things that needed to be lubricated with alcohol, ever happened.
I had my last drink. I was done, shattered, FINISHED.
I had to get over the border into Montreal, for my REAL SOBER EDUCATION TO BEGIN.
I was alive. I survived AIDS. I had money in the bank. A place to live. And I had meetings and the people in those meetings.
I no longer had any other fish to fry, I no longer had to juggle several balls at the same time. The only thing I had to do was STAY SOBER.
Responsibility began to set in. I had set myself up before I walked into Tuesday Beginners. And what did they do ? They gave me a job.
Coffee, set up, tables and chairs.
I did that over and over for all my years in the program.
In fact, I am still doing service at every meeting I attend, now almost sixteen years later. Because keeping it simple, always remembering that I need to act like a newcomer to keep it real, I do that gladly.
11 months in, Hubby came into my life.
My education in manhood and responsibility began in earnest.
The rest, you can say is history.
Today, I have values, morals, and virtues.
We all know that our “heads” are not places we go into, willingly, ALONE.
I know many things about myself. But I will never learn everything.
I am still alive. I am still sober. I am Responsible.
Fifty is not far off.
Responsibility got me here. Knowing I am NOT a saint NOR perfect keeps me here.
My belly button is NOT the Center of the Universe.
I am told that Step Three is very important.
Every day I have to make a decision to Turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him.
There is a God, and I am not HE.
As long as there is breath in my lungs, and I get up in the morning,
it is going to be a good day.
I was talking to an elder friend at the meeting tonight and he was in Florida for a month. He had gone to a meeting, and met a very nice woman from India. They were talking about that meeting, on that night.
Every meeting has one, we all know what it is, but nobody who really engages in their sobriety, will utilize them. Where you sit, in a room, is a good barometer of where you are in your sobriety. Some call it, “Front Row Sobriety,” however, not a lot of people sit in the front row, except for those who are used to sitting there regularly.
Many of us don’t want to sit in the very front row …
I am a second row sober man. I always sit in my same seat on Thursday’s. On Friday I sit in my regular seat, right at the front of the table, next to the chair. That is my seat.
Every meeting has a “Back Row” of seats, right along the back wall. Various people, in various meetings, sit in that proverbial back row. Some sober folks with lots of time, who don’t necessarily want to draw attention to themselves, sit in the back row.
That is common.
Then, you have those people who are the last ones in, they either come right at the hour, or just after. So all the seats up front are all taken, by the time the meeting starts. Which dictates that, if you want a front row, or front of the room seat, you have to get there early.
The back rows of a meeting, are usually sat with folks who sneak in, just under the hour mark, and fail to get a seat up front, or further to the front.
The conversation my friend had with the Woman from India, concerned The Shoe Store:
And she said to him, “You know that back row of seats ? Yeah, he said, she continued:
That back row is the Shoe Store … You have the Loafers, the Sneakers, and the Slippers.
All the shoes are represented …
We had a good laugh.
Here, we know about that back row. Those people who come in last, or late. Usually, they don’t make it till the end of the meeting. Or, they are the last ones in and the first ones out after the prayer concludes. They come and go, with negligible contact with anyone, because they really don’t want to interact with anyone in the room, for one reason or another.
Seating in a meeting is time sensitive. The earlier you get there, the better seat you are going to be able to choose, if you choose. Most of my friends always sit in the same areas.
Those who sit in the front row, or those who sit in the middle of the action, and those who tend to hang back in the pack. In an unobtrusive seat, like I said, where they do not bring attention to themselves.
In all my meetings, I do service, one way or another. So I have my choice of seat. I see everybody who comes in the room. I try and shake hands with each one of them, as one of my other elder friends said to me once …
When you shake a hand, it is very important to ALWAYS make eye contact. And you always want to SMILE. Because we want people to feel welcomed and that we mean goodness when we shake their hands, and not seem like we are put out by having to greet, when we really don’t want to greet …
Before the meeting tonight, one of my friends, whom I have not seen in a while came. And we sat outside talking about Yoga, the Gym and Work.
I know for me, as I said to her, that, “You just got to stick around…” “You just have to STAY and watch your friends and your fellows.” I know that I watch my friends, and over the past many months, I see how hard I have worked, and how little others have worked. And it shows in their carriage and demeanor, and in their words, when they speak.
The amount of work you put into your sobriety, shows up over time. And every time you hear someone talk, you get an idea of just how MUCH or how LITTLE, they are contributing to their own sobriety.
I’ve been around a good stretch of time. And I know all of my friends. I know who they were when they came in, and what kinds of decisions they made, and how fucked up things got, in the interim.
My friend added … Yeah, Shit Happens. And that is true.
I, at least, have an idea of the trajectory I am on, and where I want to go. I feel good. I look good, because for a long time, I did not look good at all. I was just hanging out, waiting for something to happen. I really wasn’t concerned with my well being, all that well. Not Good at all.
I was sober, but I was physically, COASTING …
Back in February, I got a kick in the ass at the doctors office. For the first time, in a long time, I really noticed that my body had changed for the better. I had settled for my pear shaped, bloated belly, ass hanging out HIV look.
For a good decade, I was resigned to the shape my body had taken. I had said to myself,
“Well, fuck it. This is the body God gave me so I better get used to it.”
In February, through diet, exercise and medical treatment, My body did actually shift in the positive direction. And I noticed it. Which sent me into overdrive, mentally and emotionally. I changed my wardrobe. I got sexy. And damn, I looked good.
And my friends all noticed. That has changed my outlook in ways I had not really considered.
Here we are today.
Fifty is beginning to feel good to me. And thankfully,
I am not sitting in the Shoe Store.
One definition of a bottom is the point when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than booze. That point is different for everyone, and some of us die before we get there.
Our young man, at age nineteen, walked through a second story window, and had fallen twenty feet head first into a concrete window well.
He got sober after that event… YOUNG !!!
How many people get that chance to figure out their lives so young, find the rooms, and live successfully ?
There are young people in our rooms. Some of them have stuck it out, on the first pass, and made it. However, many of them made several passes, and are in the room, not so sanguine as they once were. Then there are those who came in, cleaned up, figured out they were good, left the rooms, and never returned.
Some of those young people are dead now.
Had I figured out, at twenty-eight, how to do this when I found myself alone, at that time, I would be twenty-three years sober today. Those times, were fraught with complications, and sober groups, were not so accommodating to people with AIDS.
The good thing about hindsight is this … I have recorded, on this blog, every single lesson I learned during those first two years I was sober, the first time. And on this second pass, with proper support and people in our meetings here, I’ve succeeded very well.
But I know, I don’t have another recovery within me. I know that at any point, life can turn on a dime.
The book says quite succinctly:
There will come a time, when the only thing that stands between YOU and a DRUG or a DRINK, will be your Higher Power.
Which is why, we need to connect with something Greater than Ourselves, sooner rather than later. I know, from experience lately, that those folks I see often, who are not spiritually connected, have flirted with crack pipes and heroine and alcohol.
The other night, I sat with a friend and told him what he really needed to do, if he wanted to succeed and not pick up that crack pipe again. Whether he follows that direction is still yet to be seen.
Funny that while we were reading this story, I got the portion that read:
“The speaker said, If you’re an apple, you can be the best apple you can be, but you can never be an orange. I was an apple all right, and for the first time I understood that I had spent my life trying to be an orange. I looked around at a room filled with apples and, if I was understanding the speaker, most of them were no longer trying to be oranges.”
I pride myself in knowing that if I wear something, I am completely sure that not another person in this city, owns, the same clothing I do.
I was wearing my orange outfit tonight. Everybody laughed at me.
The clock is ticking down to my departure for New Foundland on Thursday morning. While at the meeting, one of our guys showed me pictures of St. John’s from his recent trip to The Rock and what I can expect and what I should see while I am there.
When we come into the rooms, in whatever state we find ourselves in, and whatever our bottoms were, The Promises start materializing for each one of us.
Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
Our writer talks about the fourteen year mark, as he is writing his story. He was married in year nine, and had his first child in year twelve.
My route into sobriety was not easy. I persisted though, and the final promise that eluded us for years and years, finally came to pass in year thirteen.
2014 was the year that Mama and then, the baby, came into my life. A relationship that I chose to build, from the ground up. One phone call, turned into this relationship where Am now married, have a life, and a child in my life who calls me Daddy.
Besides Grand Pa, I am the only other man in her life. And on Thursday, I will get to see the little girl I have spent the better part of three years raising with Mama.
The closing paragraph of tonight’s story says:
I once knew a woman who was crying before a meeting. She was approached by a five-year old girl who told her, “You don’t have to cry here. This is a good place. They took my daddy and they made him better.”
That’s exactly what A.A. did for me; it took me and made me better.
And for that we are eternally grateful.
Always pay attention to the coffee maker, at whatever meeting you go to…
Six months ago, when it came time to change up my meetings, I realized that there was a meeting, just down the hill from home. Essentially, a 10 minute walk through the tunnel to a little church of a building, not far from home.
The Padua Center, is a building that houses the remains (read: Altar, Statues, Lectern) of an old church that was demolished, but the core of that church had been kept, and now mass is held in that building on Sunday mornings.
Many years ago, there was another meeting that was began by an old friend, who has since died. I used to go to this little meeting, when it was up and running.
Fast Forward to November 2016. I looked up Love and Tolerance in the meeting list and headed down one Monday night. Every meeting, has its resident coffee maker. One of the most unsung jobs in the fellowship. Nobody cares WHO made the coffee, but it better be damn well perked by the time those ungrateful alcoholics walk through the door.
Hell hath no fury like an Alcoholic, with coffee not ready to go…
Danger Will Robinson, DANGER !!!!
I’ve known some crazy coffee makers in my time.
That night I met our coffee maker extraordinaire. Back then, the meeting was sparsely attended, and only needed a small, 12 cup perk coffee maker. Over the last six months our intrepid coffee maker invested in a full bore 60 cup, standard issue, coffee urn.
The number of meeting attendees, has more than doubled in six months. And all of us are grateful for the coffee maker. He is there every week, busy or not, making coffee.
This past Monday, I asked him if he could give me “thirty minutes?” He understood that I was asking him to come to a meeting to hear ME speak.
Funny that …
This afternoon around 1 p.m. he texted me saying that he could not make our date for the meeting. I was on my way to the bank to prepare for my trip to N.L. next Thursday.
I came home and made two phone calls. One came back as a NO, and the other message was not received prior to the meeting. I took that as a sign, to trust God and head to the meeting as usual. While setting up, I told one of our women that I needed a speaker, and she volunteered to speak for me.
Not ten minutes later, my coffee maker texted me saying his late meeting at the office had been cancelled and that he was on his way. Little did he know that HE was the one who was speaking and not ME.
That realization came about 5 minutes before I introduced him to the room.
Color him surprised…
It all went as God had ordered it. He knocked it out of the park.
After the meeting I told him that newcomer quote I heard a couple of weeks ago that:
If you get asked to Speak at St. Matthias, You Have Arrived …
Our little Monday, Love and Tolerance meeting is a wealth of Sober Experience, that I have been tapping since I joined St. Matthias a few months ago. Lots of sober men and women who don’t usually hit the Thursday meeting, so, fresh minds are fresh stories to hear.
Last week, into last weekend, New Foundland was hit by a severe blizzard, which prompted some serious considerations of not making the trip next week, due to weather concerns. I called Air Canada, and spoke to them about weather. Then I called the bank, and tried to get some insurance on my $650.00 airline ticket. (That was a bust)
Tuesday would be the day that I would decide to either get on a plane or cancel my trip, because getting an airplane into St. John’s is dicey, frequently. Wind, Weather, Snow, are a given on any day. Tonight, it seems that the weather will be looking up, thanks to Environment Canada’s six day forecast.
I have cash in hand, and a good weather forecast, at the moment. In New Foundland, weather is never a given. All it takes is a little weather headed into that area, and Mother Nature can dump up to sixty centimeters of snow on any given day.
It has been pissing rain in Montreal for two days now. A Rain/Snow mix may fall tomorrow night, and more rain. We have heard, mentioned, double digit positive temps for this weekend … Let Us Pray …
Friday, last week, a good friend of mine witnessed me, two nights in a row, drinking my favorite Orange Soda. He was not impressed with that. On Friday night he said to me that I needed to stop the sugar intake and that I needed to look into the Keto Diet.
Saturday night, I did some serious investigating and came away with a diet plan that I was willing to work with. The Keto Diet, is strict. Lots of No, No’s. And very little leeway in the eradication of sugars and carbohydrates.
The Keto diet has a scientific basis. On the second link, you will find all the scientific data with Diabetes and Cancer patients.
I haven’t had a sip of soda in five days. I haven’t had any sugar whatsoever, in five days either. I wrote down the dietary restrictions on the fridge, and now we both eat very well, based on the Keto Diet restrictions in place.
Let me tell you that Detoxing from Sugar is BRUTAL … The first three days, I thought I was going to loose my mind. I was hormonal, and seriously demented. I had headaches, and I was terribly, emotionally, cracked.
One of my women, whom I work with, read my F.B. Page and she has serious time invested into the Keto Diet. So she called me the other night and we tweaked my plan, with a few changes and substitutions.
I spoke about having realized in February that I had, in fact, lost ten pounds, which spurred me into a radical lifestyle change, personally. I want to feel good, and look good, and look good doing it too.
People are noticing.
Thursday, after the meeting, is my “teaching night.”
My Elder friend in Utah, and I talk weekly via Google Hangout. We get to see each other and talk about how his life has changed since he ended his mission in Montreal. It was important that we kept our friendship going, because i want him in my life and we are friends, and each week, I get a little Faith Boost from him. General Conference was last weekend, this year, he got to see it live and in person. I get to watch it here at home.
His takeaway was this:
Community is important. Faith is Important. Charity is important.
Distilling a theological message to three points …
The number of walls you can knock down when ministering to your community, friends, and family, the better. We don’t need any more walls, we need community, we need love, we need charity and we need to love one another fully.
This message, in three parts, is familiar to me. I’ve heard it repeated many times on many fronts over the past month or so.
The Blessings of Easter is quickly approaching. The whole reason the Atonement is central to the church and her people. The sacrifice of the Cross makes this life possible and grants us life, love and faith.
Tomorrow is the Best Night of the Week.
Surely more to come.
“The more you realize, the more you realize that there is nothing to realize. The Idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”
There are but two sins … The Lesser, is to get in the way of our own spiritual path. The Greater, is to get in the way of someone else’s spiritual path.
I see humility for today as a safe and secure stance midway between violent emotional extremes. It is a quiet place where I can keep enough perspective and enough balance to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values.
The reading tonight touches on Arrogance, Attitude and Humility.
Which leads back to yesterdays quote:
I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !
The Fellowship, early on, was a sordid affair. And thinking about it logically, the Big Book was written towards a certain segment of the population. And in the early years, the Fellowship grew out of trials and errors.
They really did not have a leg to stand on, when it came to knowledge or certainty.
This reading talks about some, early on, who believed they had the “Real A.A.” And that they had a definitive answer to the problem of the drink, and only they could impart this message and that, from the reading, “You better get it…”
A very arrogant approach, don’t you think ?
This reading is dates 1961. The Fellowship came together in 1939. That is only 22 years from inception, to the point Bill wrote this passage for the Grapevine. I imagine that Bill probably mulled over what he was either hearing himself, or from others, who came in contact with the men, whom this reading, refers to.
I don’t know, in my life today, WHO has the definitive answer to recovery. Because I know, for myself, that there are old timers with TIME, but they surely are not sober. There are men and women I respect, who have some time.
All I know is this … Every so often I am introduced to someone who has a method, or a practice, or a way, they work their program. Over the past four or so years, I’ve employed several practices and methods that I know worked for the men and women, I have adopted these practices from.
None of them, we could say are the End All Be All. They are merely, additions to practice and method, to incorporate, along with the Book.
Working with others, is a great way to find out for ones self, that:
No, I don’t know, but I am trying to find out. OK !
I don’t have all the answers, which is why I go to meetings and talk with people I respect, who have a little more experience than I do. We are all souls walking in the same direction, trying to figure it out ourselves.
There is no ultimate authority, except the God of our understanding as He speaks in our Group Conscience.
I know what size my pants are. And I know how big, my head can get if I am not careful.
Keeping it simple and staying out of my head is a daily task.
If either my pants or my head swell to greatly, then I know:
I must decrease so that He may increase.
Friday night I saw some folks I don’t usually see at the Friday meeting. In fact, I haven’t seen either one of them since last September. Not a call, Not a meeting, Nothing …
Saturday I spent time with one of my women I work with. And she told me a story, about one of those men I saw the night prior. Many, Many months ago, our man went to Florida and he used, pissing away 11 years of sobriety … I know, of him, that he stopped coming to meetings for a long time, so long, that I was given his key and his treasury responsibility. He did not call, nor did he talk to me or anyone else in that particular room, for that matter.
Now I know why … He used and came home and isolated and kept a secret. For MONTHS. And I know, from his history, how hard he worked to get sober, quoting the book, like he knew the book, like the back of his hand … He didn’t …
Friday night, he sat next to me, and did not say two words to me all night long. He and my other friend left after the meeting and did not stay to talk.
This is what happens when you stop going to meetings, you stop talking to people, you keep secrets and your sobriety looses its priority.
Sad. That particular meeting did not feed him, like it needed to and he stayed away from meetings that might have fed him and kept him “on the beam.”
But addict for addict and alcoholic for alcoholic, we are going to do what we are going to do, and damn the torpedoes.
**** **** ****
You never know what is going to rise to the surface, when you step into a room.
Tonight’s read talks about:
- Drinking some more.
- Driving Drunk,
- Driving drunk some more.
- Going to a meeting because it meant more for them, rather than for us,
- Coming to realize that “hey, maybe I’m an alcoholic too !”
- Coming, Coming to, and Making a decision …
- Speaking the Third Step Prayer for themselves …
Flooded with Feeling, has been the story of my life for the past good chunk of months. Many of my friends, men and women, are in this mix right now, themselves. The Monday night meeting is a wealth of experience, strength and hope.
The line that stuck out in this story goes like this …
“I just wanted another drink …”
My Momma once said to me that: “You better Never find yourself in jail, because if you do, I will never bail you out, you will be on your own.”
I did listen to some of the advice she gave me, however backhanded that single piece of advice was, when it was delivered. I did, many times, get behind the wheel while intoxicated. And it is a good thing that nobody ever got hurt. Because I was seriously stupid. But what is an alcoholic going to do ?
Nothing stands between us and that next drink …
Happy hour only lasted from 4 to 7. Then you had to go home, change your office clothes for dance clothes, and return for the nightly debauchery. Over and Over and Over.
Until one day, You become a character written about in the Big Book, being that tornado, running ragged, in the life of someone trying to get sober at the same time.
Sadly, I would remain that tornado for three more years, until Todd stepped in and said the word STOP. I am amazed, that all the people I drank with, who got sober, before I did, never said a word to me, while I was IN IT. And to this day, I don’t know why they didn’t try to help me. Because the trajectory of my life would surely have been different, had that actually happened, but didn’t.
Our man, in this story, relates his approach to the Third Step and the Prayer. While on the phone, with the lady friend who took him to his first meeting, he writes that “while on the phone he read the Third Step Prayer to her… then afterwards he returns to the prayer and repeats it to himself.”
When I got sober the first time, I had Todd in my life. And every night, coming to work, the practice was, to turn my life over, every time I crossed the threshold into the bar. I practiced that task every night for two years. I learned how to do that and trusted in the man I was turning my life over to, because I am still alive.
When I got sober the second time, It was just me, and my prayer to God. There was nobody else out there, holding my hand. And let me tell you just how unsure I was of myself, not knowing IF I could TRUST myself alone … IF I could do it RIGHT.
It did not come for a long time, the revelation of Todd and Step Three, being the incarnation of God Himself in my life when I really needed it. I did not make that connection until I began to relate my memoirs on this blog many years ago.
I had seen God, in the flesh. I knew there was a God, all along. I knew the drill. I just did not trust anything that I did, on my own.
But I am getting better at it, today.
Over the years, I’ve watched the men I worked with, who for some, did not necessarily believe in God, how they worked around the Third Step, each for their specific sensibilities. The Friday meeting has been a proving ground for our young people, who also, many of them, could not see past the word God, and got and stayed sober.
Many of them came, stayed a bit, left, and never returned.
Even though we spent years studying the word God, trying to find work around’s to allow the belief in whatever worked until they figured God out for themselves.
Every day, we have an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.
Do I want a thimble full of God, one day at a time, or
Do I want a bucket full of God, one day at a time ???
And when is it that I realize that I am a drop in the big ocean that is humanity (read: God). And that I am one with ALL that is, because a little of all that is OUT THERE, is within me, and that a little piece of WITHIN ME is one with all that is OUT THERE.
And that, as I live and breathe, the universe out there, knows, before I even utter a single thought, prayer or word …
How amazing is that ???